I worked as a Reg Nurse in a hospital built in Victorian Era. A woman who was a gentle soul clung on for 3 weeks – that was odd in itself.
This lady had a collection of bright coloured bed jackets, her favourite being a bright yellow one.
One of us sat with her as she had no relatives and no person should die alone. A nursing assistant came and found me to ask me to check if the lady had passed. Dr came to certify that at 18:20 pm she had indeed passed.
Nurses do take great care when preparing the laying out of a person, its a sense of respect and the last thing you can do for that person. The porters arrived to take her to the mortuary – a.k.a ‘Rose Cottage’. As was the norm, the bed was stripped, the bed cleaned and the room emptied and left to air with the window open.
The night staff came on so I handed the ward over to the next Reg Nurse. We then did the usual of counting every patient on the ward was done.
As we came from the main bedded unit we were saying what a lovely lady she had been (yes most nurses are softies at heart). We walked down the ward and as we came to the womans room that had R.I.P on the door as we appoached the door banged and made us jump.
We chuckled and said ‘I will close the window in there now’ – as I turned into the side room I stopped in my tracks- with the night Reg Nurse bumping straight into me. Keep in mind we were all experienced Nurses, not alot phases you, and because of how the wards were built the length of the corridor was approx a good 50 metres, every Nurse would be accounted for during a shift. The light was on, the bed was made up and laying across the foot of the bed was the ladies bright yellow bed jacket!
Nurses SOH can be abit ‘dark’ – it’s a coping mechanism – however it would of been such a blatant disrespect of the lady and none of the nurses would of done that. You may be thinking is that it ? Well, I was back on the early shift at 07:00 am and was greeted by the night Reg Nurse who was in a-bit of a state, she went back to the room after night meds and said as she walked into the room the lady that had gone to ‘Rose Cottage’ had been in and she heard the womans voice say clearly ‘thank you’ and the yellow bed jacket lifted up as if a person was putting it on and then just drifted to the floor !!!
That Reg Nurse phoned in sick for a week and requested to be moved to another Ward – she had worked nights for over a decade on that Ward & refused to ever step foot again on that Ward.
That is the truth – I kid you not. I avoided night shifts for a year after that and I asked for a transfer to another Ward too.
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